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Solar panels part of OU professor's plan to create net zero home

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Oakland University engineering professor Chris Kobus is having solar panels installed on the roof of his Rochester home.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Oakland University engineering professor Chris Kobus is having solar panels installed on the roof of his Rochester home. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
ROCHESTER, Mich. (WJBK) -

They brave bitter cold temperatures and biting winds, but it is all part of the job for workers with Salvatore Contracting.  We found them on the roof of a Rochester home installing solar panels for Oakland University engineering professor Chris Kobus, who is a big fan of the technology.

"Once you install it there are no moving parts," he said.  "If you install it correctly and size everything correctly, it will run for two, three, four decades without you ever having to touch it."

Kobus bought the thin film solar laminate being used for the project in a bankruptcy auction from Uni-Solar in Auburn Hills when the company went out of business and sold off its assets.  He is having it attached to a metal roof and will soon use it to make all the energy his family needs.

When the project is finished, a total of 115 of the laminate sheets and 32 photo photovoltaic panels will have been installed.

"This will take care of about 100 percent approximately of his bill," said Mike Kahn with Salvatore Contracting.

Kobus teaches alternative energy.  For the last ten years, he has used data from his own house as a case study for his classes.  Now students will learn how to create a zero net house, one that produces as much energy as it uses throughout the year thanks to the solar project.  It is an effort he hopes will make them think.

"In all human history the challenge has been how do we survive.  We don't have those survival challenges anymore.  The challenge now is how do we sustain this very high quality life, and I want to be part of the solution to that challenge," he said.

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